10) Don't put business before fun and camaraderie — The faster you talk about business, the quicker you might be tuned out. Let your prospect or playing partner address business first.
9) Don't just show up — Plan ahead if you're entertaining people on the course. Make sure that the pro shop has the right sleeve of balls for the handicap of the player; for example, good players don't play Pinnacles, but new players do. And make sure that the names are marked clearly on the carts. Know something about the players you're going to host, such as their handicaps, and give some thought to who is playing with whom.
8) Don't play for money — If you and your partners discover that you are capable of structuring a “game” after three or four holes and want to play for a dollar, fine. But never mention it before the round, and suggest the above if someone else does.
7) Don't coach others — You're not a pro, and you might make things worse. Instead, be a cheerleader. Encourage the good shots, laugh a little more, and be a friend. Courtesy and respect always win.
6) Don't be demanding — Try to make the three-footers, let the guest say “that's good.” Don't take a mulligan on the first tee unless your guest does first. In fact, let your guest hit first so you have an example. Remember, you reveal your character by your requests.
5) Don't come unprepared — Golf is all about fun, but be prepared if your client wants to do business as well. If you're looking to get a signed, for example, have one stashed in your bag. It's perfectly legitimate, if your client says during the round that he wants to do business with you, for you to hand him the contract when you ask him to sign the scorecard.
4) Don't be a bad sport — If you're missing shots, grin and bear it. Anger and frustration don't translate well to business partnerships, and pouting and self-centeredness really are a turnoff. Remember, golf is a game.
3) Don't be ignorant about etiquette — Learn the basic rules of golf, and make sure that your staff members have rule books as well. Respect for the rules shows respect for the situation (in business, too).
2) Don't go out without warming up — That only shows that you don't prepare well. Warming up also means hitting a few balls at the range a few times before the golf date.
AND the No.1 DON'T in business golf is …
DON'T CHEAT! — If you cheat on scores or kick the ball out of the woods, you're kicking the business out the door.
Richard Brasser is the owner of Targeted Golf, Charlotte, N.C. (www.targetedgolf.com). His program, FORE! Golf, has been used by companies to introduce employees to the nuances of business golf. Parker Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a former senior editor of GOLF magazine and produces major media golf events. He is also based in Charlotte.
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